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Gardening offers diversion from politics

Rodd Moesel advises readers about their horticulture and gardening issues.
BY RODD MOESEL Published: November 5, 2012

Most of the nation is focused on tomorrow's elections, but if you want to escape the intensity and stress of the elections there are many things to be done in the fall garden.

This is a great time to replace your tender annuals with tough and colorful pansies, ornamental kale and cabbage which thrive in the cooler weather of fall and early winter. You can grow them in container gardens or flower beds and they will provide perky flowers and fun colors right on through the darker and sometimes dismal weather of winter.

A pot of colorful pansies or border of cheerful pansy faces along the front sidewalk has caused me to turn many an early cold morning frown into a smile when leaving a warm house to face the shocking cold of a dark winter morning.

Transplants of pansies, kale and cabbage are readily available at your local nursery or garden center.

You can plant all one color or a mix to produce a smorgasbord of color.

We are now in the heart of the season to plant spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinth, daffodils or narcissus, grape hyacinths, crocus, Dutch iris or allium.

Choose firm, healthy bulbs. A good rule of thumb is that the larger the bulb, the larger or more flowers it will produce.

Most spring-flowering bulbs do best in sunny areas but remember they will usually pop out of the ground and bloom before most trees leaf out in the spring. A few of the smaller more unusual bulbs like snowdrops, trillium and anemone do best in the partial shade.

You can plant the bulbs anytime the ground is not frozen, even up into February. The sooner you plant the less the bulbs will dehydrate and the sooner they will start growing roots under ground to give you a bigger show next spring.

Your nurseryman or garden center can tell you the best planting depth for the bulbs you select.

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